PHILADELPHIA - Former Eagles long snapper and magician Jon Dorenbos is now being called a hero after saving a woman’s life in January. He joined Alex Holley and Mike Jerrick on Good Day Philadelphia to discuss the incident.
Ana and Akira Nakao were working at their restaurant, VegiLicious, in Huntington Beach, California on Jan. 19. As Ana was serving tables for outdoor diners, her clothes caught fire from a gas heater and her lower body became engulfed in flames.
Dorenbos and his wife were eating at another restaurant nearby when he heard a scream and saw Ana covered in flames.
"Her apron just caught on fire and I would say in two or three seconds it went from her apron to just fully engulfed," he said. "It was like watching a stuntman walk out of a burning building in the making of a movie.
Before sitting down to eat at the nearby restaurant, Dorenbos had grabbed a blanket to keep his wife warm as they dined outdoors due to COVID-19 restrictions. That blanket then became the tool he used to stop the flames from further burning Ana.
He credits his NFL training for his ability to respond to the situation quickly. "I ran over there and just acted like I was a fireman in a movie," Dorenbos said. "I happened to have a blanket and kind of got her to the ground and tried to smother the fire as quick as I could."
Ana has a long road ahead of her as she works to recover from her injuries. According to a GoFundMe, she sustained several second-degree and third-degree burns to her legs and buttock.
The Nakaos emigrated from Japan to start their restaurant, but their overseas travel insurance maxes out at $250,000, which will not be enough to cover her months-long hospital stay.
The GoFundMe page created for Ana has a goal of raising more than $2 million to help pay for hospital and living expenses. With Ana in the hospital, the couple’s restaurant, which is their only source of income, is closed. Thousands of people have already donated nearly $161,000.
Dorenbos said he has been able to communicate with the couple via text, but noted they speak very limited English. He plans to wait until hospital COVID-19 regulations allow for more guests before he pays her a visit.
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